Lion | Characteristics, Habitat, & Facts

The lion is a big cat known as the “King of the jungle”. They are found in Africa and India, where they are at the top of the food chain.

African Lion – The scientific name of the African lion is Panthera leo. There are lions living in much of the central and southern parts of the African savanna.

Asian or Indian Lion – The scientific name of the lion in India is Panthera leo persica. These lions are found only in the Gir forest of Gujarat, India. These lions are endangered as there are only 400 left in the wild.

The Lion Pride

A group of lions is called pride. Lions are the only truly social cats. A herd of lions can range from 3 to 30. A herd usually consists of female lions, their cubs, and a few male lions. The lionesses do most of the hunting while the males mainly guard the pride and cubs. Lionesses work together to hunt and can take down large prey such as water buffalo.

How big are the Lions?

The lion is the second largest cat species after the tiger. They can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh over 500 pounds. Male lions develop a large mane of hair around their necks, which distinguishes them from females. Males are usually larger than females.

What do Lions do all day?

The lions rest almost all day in the shade. They will store energy for short, intense hunts, where they can run extremely fast for a short time to catch their prey. They tend to be more active and hunt at dusk and dawn.

What do Lions eat?

Lions are carnivores and carnivores. They can take down any medium sized animal. Some of their favorite prey include water buffalo, antelope, wildebeest, antelope, and zebra. Lions are known to occasionally kill large animals such as elephants, giraffes, and rhinos.

Baby Lions

Lion cubs are called cubs. The Pride cubs are cared for by all other members of Pride and can suckle from any Lioness, not just their mother. Young males will be removed from the herd at the age of 2 and a half to 3 years.

Interesting Facts About Lions

Lions are famous for their loud roars that can be heard up to 8 km away. They can roar so loudly because the cartilage in their throat has turned into bone.

They tend to roar more at night.

The lion is bigger than the tiger, but it is lighter.

The lion’s main predator in Africa is the spotted hyena. Although female lions hunt, male lions usually eat first.

They are excellent swimmers.

Lions will live about 15 years in the wild.